Little church of Piedigrotta,Calabria
The small church of Piedigrotta, located along the suggestive coastal context of Pizzo Calabro, a small town on the Tyrrhenian coast of Calabria, is a unique artistic jewel. It is an extraordinary place of worship, a surprising example of rock art excavated entirely inside a sandstone rock cave lapped by a crystal clear sea. The church was built by local devotees over the course of several decades, dating back to the 17th century. It represents a true artistic and spiritual masterpiece of incredible beauty. Legend has it that the work began when a group of fishermen managed to escape a storm at sea, and as a sign of gratitude undertook to create a place of prayer dedicated to the Madonna.
Over the years, towards the end of the 19th century, the local artist Angelo Barone decided to expand the building by working with a pickaxe and spade to sculpt the statues in the tuff. After Angelo's death, his son Alfonso continued his work. It is said that in the early 1960s some statues were damaged by a group of boys, but the artists' nephew Giorgio Barone restored the entire complex, contributing to the creation of medallions depicting Pope John XXIII and John Kennedy. The Church of the Madonna di Piedigrotta, composed of two lateral vaults and a main vault in the center, is made up of a series of interconnected chapels and corridors, each of which is home to sculptures depicting scenes from the life of Jesus and the saints. The sculptures were carved directly into the rock walls and feature a variety of styles reflecting the skill and devotion of those who created them. The altars are adorned with flowers, candles and offerings left by visitors.
Every year, the little church of Piedigrotta attracts numerous pilgrims and tourists fascinated by its history and its characteristic splendor. The interior is made even more spectacular by the lighting that plays on the sculpted walls, which creates an unparalleled evocative and mystical atmosphere. It can be accessed via a small staircase leading to the main room, where visitors can contemplate the sculptures and reflect in silence. Visiting this splendid church is truly a wonderful experience, a journey into a historical and cultural heritage of inestimable value, the demonstration of how art and spirituality can blend with the natural environment of this magical land. The Church is the second most visited monument in Calabria after the Riace Bronzes and this is the Official Site.
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